The evolution of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) in the German and French technological innovation systems for solar cells

Examensarbete för masterexamen

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Type: Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Title: The evolution of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) in the German and French technological innovation systems for solar cells
Authors: Rode, Johannes
Crassard, Fabien
Abstract: Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic (PV) systems, fulfilling a function of a building and therefore allowing synergy effects by substituting the ordinary envelope of a building. The purpose of this thesis is, first, to understand and explain the evolution of BIPV technology within the German and French technological systems for solar cells and, second, to contribute to the theory on technological innovation systems by adding elements from the multi-level perspective on technological transition. We apply the structural as well as the functional analyses described in the technological innovation system (TIS) approach and complete these analyses by elements of the multi-level perspective on technological transition to investigate the evolution of BIPV. Furthermore, conclusions and policy implications are drawn out of a cross-country comparison of the German and French cases. In Germany, a large amount of resources has been allocated to PV research since the 1970s. Furthermore, since the end of the 1970s a strong green movement emerged favouring renewable energy in general. Demonstration and market formation programmes in the 1990s lay the ground to build the biggest market for photovoltaic systems worldwide in 2007. In contrast, in France 78 percent of the electricity were produced by nuclear power in 2006 and the PV capacity installed is still very low. Photovoltaics have suffered from a low policy interest and the strong resistance of the national electricity utility Electricité de France, blocking their diffusion. Nevertheless, in July 2006, a strong feed-in tariff with a special bonus for BIPV systems was implemented, giving hope to the development of a market and an industry for PV. First, we conclude that in Germany and France, landscape changes had different impacts on the technological innovation systems for solar cells, which resulted in different paths for their development. The German system has shifted to a growth phase, whereas the French remains in a formative phase. We underline that BIPV systems interact with and face barriers of two regimes: the electricity supply regime and the building regime. Since barriers, such as long permission procedures, from the electricity supply regime against PV remain in France, BIPV are regarded as an opportunity for market formation. Indeed, BIPV may benefit from the support of the building regime and hence overcome barriers from the electricity supply regime. In contrast, in Germany BIPV are seen as a small niche for PV to diversify into. The evolution of BIPV in the German and French TIS for solar cells IV However, the development of BIPV is hindered by building regime’s institutions such as building codes, which require long and expensive certification procedures. In addition, in France the lack of architects involved in BIPV slows down the diffusion of building integrated systems. In Germany a premature lock-in situation favouring additive on-roof systems, may hamper the growth of the BIPV market. Second, we identified that the TIS theory may not fully cover the transition from one system to another and may lack insights regarding the origin of external forces. Therefore, we suggest that these weaknesses can be reduced by borrowing the niche, regime and landscape levels from the multi-level perspective on technological transition. Particularly, the evolution of BIPV in Germany and France shows the importance of niche-regime interaction for niche formation. Finally, we highlight lessons for policy makers. In Germany, a premature lock-in situation may hinder the diversification of PV applications such as BIPV whereas in France the fact that the BIPV market may be too small to create an industry with a complete value-chain can be underlined.
Keywords: Miljöteknik;Environmental engineering
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Chalmers tekniska högskola / Institutionen för energi och miljö
Chalmers University of Technology / Department of Energy and Environment
Series/Report no.: Report - Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, Chalmers University of Technology : 2007:16
Collection:Examensarbeten för masterexamen // Master Theses

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